Twitter is the next social media company embroiled in a data access scandal with voter-profiling firm, Cambridge Analytica—the company responsible for harvesting the data of 87 million people on Facebook.
Back in 2015, Twitter sold data access to Aleksandr Kogan, the Cambridge University academic who also approached Facebook under the guise of seeking data for research purposes. For one day in 2015, Twitter granted Kogan’s commercial enterprise, Global Science Research, access to comprehensive amounts of public data
“In 2015, GSR did have one-time API access to a random sample of public tweets from a five-month period from December 2014 to April 2015,” Twitter told Bloomberg in a statement. “Based on the recent reports, we conducted our own internal review and did not find any access to private data about people who use Twitter.”
Twitter has since removed Cambridge Analytica and its affiliates as advertisers. Twitter’s revelations come amid growing anxiety over data privacy and waning trust for organizations that manage consumers’ personal data. In a recent survey The Harris Poll conducted on behalf of IBM, only 20% of U.S. respondents completely trust organizations they interact with to maintain the privacy of their data.
Furthermore, the online survey of 10,000 global consumers also found that 73% of respondents think businesses are focused on profits over addressing consumers’ security needs.